can't get the base to puddle

by Harry haithcoat
(St.Louis, missouri)

hi, i have been reading up on tig welding, it's been about 22 yrs sience i did any tig,a friend of mine just bought a Thermal Arc 185tsw ac/dc cc with stick,tig-lift start and hf start. he bought it to repair leaks in auto radiators and aircond parts. his welding with this will be aluminum,he has a miller mig for his steel parts, the problem is i haven't beem around any of these new machines in yrs, my expertise is,gas,stick and mig so setting all these controlls on this machine is a bit challenging so for me refresher course of my memory is needed. the stuff he'll weld is really thin and he thinks that because someone he seen weld pop cans together along with razor blades this should be a piece of cake to saving him alot of money (lolol right) but theres no changing his mind. his son does most of his welding which i taught him to do now they think they can do anything,this machine is over my head, the instruction book is ok but it doesn't really give a clear setting other than page 36, i think the problem for me is i don't know where to set the preflow to initial current to up slope to weld current to down slope and so on well you get the thinking is to go with a standard setting and leave with a few adjustments for heat,but they don't tell you how to just set it and leave,i don't need pulse i don't think, but to the other problem is the aluminum seems to be contaminated when i try to start a puddle all it does is get hot and droop or just get hot, i tried grinding the material with no success, also i can't remember if i need a different type of tungsten rod or what size 1/16 or 3/32? he has pure argon no helium and i think a 5356 filler rod, but i can't even get a puddle let alone a bead,also it works fine on mild steel, i set it up for that and it worked fine so i must be getting close, but after reading the hand book through 4 times and reading for 2 days on the web and finally coming upon your page i felt it was time to ask someone who knows alot more than me which won't take alot, i have welded almost everything there is with the exception of under water (fear of drowning kept me from that lolol) and when i went to school back in 1972 alot has changed so please any info would be much appreciated, thank you for just listening to me go on and on, and out of all the web sites yours is in the top 2 of my reading keep up the good work, sounds like you help a lot of people,us welders must stick lolol together,thank you, harry



I did a series of pages and videos on tig welding settings. here at this link

tig settings videos

you should be able to watch them all in about an hour.

if you still need help, email me directly thru my contact page. here

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